Tim Keller is a Presbyterian minister in New York City, a fantastic author and one of my heroes, mostly because he says things like this:
A life of religious legalism is always distasteful to those outside the faith. The moralist will be smug (they are the good people); oversensitive (their goodness is their righteousness so must not be undermined); judgmental (they need to find others worse than them in order to be good); and anxious (have they done enough?)
Worse, irreligious people look at and dislike the God who moralists claim to represent. Paul is thus arguing to the Jews: You were called to be a light to the world, you think of yourselves as bringing light to those who are in darkness and yet the world finds your religion totally unattractive? Don’t you see that therefore you must have misunderstood it?
We need to pose ourselves the same challenge: Is our church community and are we as individuals attractive? Is our humility, love in hard situations, grace under pressure and so on obvious for others to see? Are we living as an advertisement for God or as a “Keep clear” sign? Only the gospel produces churches and people who commend God to the world. Moralism cannot.
Excerpted from –Romans 1-7 For You. By Tim Keller